Town and water
Starting point first - the central park
2. The town Telč and its history linked with water
3. Functions of water in the town's life
4. Mills - transformation of the steam mill in Telč
5. Fishpond cultivation
6. Water supplies - water to Telč
7. Life in the water and around the water
1. Town and water
The surroundings of Telč are an upland area offering a maximum of nature values and a high quality environment. The area has rare animal and plant species, some of which have special regimes as reserves or protected nature formations.
The countryside in the surroundings of Telč attracts visitors’ attention by its simple beauty, slightly undulating relief, rock formations and flooded quarries. The entire area is covered with a number of marked paths for lovers of hiking. While Telč is renowned for its beauty and the preserved square and chateau, the surroundings of the town deserve no less attention. The torn chateau, the surroundings of the town deserve no less attention. The torn up, hilly countryside with its little patches of woods, balks, preserves, countless ponds, ecclesiastical architecture embellishing village greens and field tracks, monument of folk architecture, and places of interest and curiosity make up a unique composition with the town.
The existence of the three ponds, Štěpnický, Ulický and Staroměstský, seems to have influenced the architectural development in the town for centuries. The ponds Štěpnický and Ulický surround the centre of the town with the chateau and square, making up the two main entrances to the area along the dams of these ponds. There is an amazing view of the banks shaped as parks, from both dams. The atmosphere on the northern bank, from the street Na Baště, is enhanced by the fact that the fence and the impenetrable chateau park are a pleasant contrast to the open water area. A narrow race form the pond Ulický in the southeast, makes a link to the largest pond, Staroměstký, which surrounds the Old Town in its lower part with its Church of the Mother of God. However, this part has already character traits of a modest historical village, with the eastern wooded bank of this pond marking change into the open countryside.
2. The town Telč and its history linked with water
What might this countryside have looked like before it was permanently inhabited? There was a forest with prevailing beeches and firs, oaks in lower areas, and with spruces mixing with alders and willows in wetter places. There was not a trace of a building or a fishpond, just a small stream murmuring down in the valley. In the 9th century you would have been standing in the middle of the forest seeing nothing but the forest around you.
The territory of Telč consists of the cadastral areas of Telč and Studnice, 2/3 of which is covered by arable land now, 3 per cent by water areas and only 9.2 per cent by forests. The central line of the cadastral area is the Telčský Brook, which flows through the system of twelve ponds. The five largest ones are found in the cadastral area of Telč, down the stream of the Telčský brook: the pond Roštejn (above the town), the ponds Štěpnický, Ulický and Staroměstský (right in the town) and the pond Rohozenský (below the town).
3. The function of water in the life of the town
Using water resources for various purposes has a tradition of thousands of years, to say nothing of drinking water, which is as old as mankind itself. In terms of all-purpose functions in the environment, the most important ones are the biological, medical, cultural and aesthetic, political and strategic for military purposes, where water areas in the countryside were advantageously used as an efficient obstacle protecting both feudal residences and whole settlements.
We can learn about the individual functions of water, including its transformation throughout history, on the route of the nature trail leading along three ponds in Telč: Ulický, Štěpnický, Staroměstský.
4. Mills – the transformation of the steam mill in Telč
This mill is found in the place called “Na Romantice”. Its existence first appeared in written records as early as 1533. From 1807, the mill gradually became part of the factory for fine cloths, established by Jakub Lang, and in 1825 it was finally changed into a dyeworks, spinning and weaving mill. In 1863 the mill came to the hands of Amálie Podstatz – Lichtenstein, who rebuilt it for its original purpose and handed it over to her son Leopold. The mill belonged to the Podstatz family almost continuously until 1945, when it was taken over by state administration. It served for milling corn until 1957, later serving as a warehouse only and deteriorating.
Since 2003 the mill has been on the list of the ČR´s most endangered heritage buildings.
5. Fish Farming
We can find first records of founding fish ponds in our territory as early as the 11th century. The area of the Bohemian-Moravian Highlands was highly suitable for that purpose thanks to its shallow and closed valleys and a dense network of brooks.
Why does the region of Telč belong to the cradle of Czech fish farming? It is due to the shortage of water in this region. It was the newly established water reservoirs that were to solve this problem partially and made life in the region considerably easier.
According to the preserved records we can guess that the surrounding areas of Dačice and Telč were the largest fish farming area in Moravia until the mid 15th century. The Czech carp was highly valued abroad, and fish from Bohemian and Moravian fishponds were exported not only to Austria and Germany but also to Poland and Hungary.
The purchase of the town by Zachariáš of Hradec in 1550 was a new impulse for building activities in the town by were. Zachariáš (died 1589), who was a good manager, enlarged the domain of Telč by several additionally purchased villages, and gave a lot of attention to fish farming. By 1590, the domain of Telč had as many as 86 fishponds, 5 more in the grange of Šašovice and 8 in the grange of Želetava. Apart from carp, they kept perch, roach, pike and crayfish in the waters of the domain of Telč.
6. How water is led to Telč – where water comes to the town from and how
The Telčský Brook is a left-side tributary of the Moravian Dyje River. The entire length of its valley is 9,5 km. To ensure a sufficient amount of water in the Telčský Brook, an artificial bed was built in it (records form as early as 1833), which transfers part of the water from the catchment of the Třešťský Brook (catchment of the Jihlava river).
The fishpond Velký pařezitý on the Javořický Brook serves as the accumulation source for the transfer of water. The transfer of water is enabled by a water divider in the forest below the fishpond Velký pařezitý. From the divider onwards, water is led in a partly reinforced trapezoidal bed, which crosses the village of Řásná. It is 305 km long and empties into the Telčský Brook, which springs above the pond Smrk. Then the Telčský Brook goes through further fishponds, which it supplies with water – they are the fish ponds Vlček, Polívkův and Roštejnský. After that it delivers water to fishponds that are part of the water defence of the Old Town of Telč – Štěpnický, Ulický and Staroměstský.
7. Life in water and around water areas
Although it does not seem at first sight, life in all the ponds and even in the town reservoir is abundant and changeable. This station is focused on the fauna living on and below the water surface.
Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos)
It is the most common and largest wild living duck species in this country. It inhabits slowly flowing and standing waters whose banks are covered with bushes or reed.
Mute swan (Cygnus olor)
The mute swan ranks among cosmopolitan animals: we can find it in South Africa, New Zealand, Australia and America. We can see swans especially on standing and slowly flowing waters, both in the open countryside and in town centres, where they set off in search of food. At the time of nesting, swans live in pairs only and caution is recommended. Especially the male will be rather aggressive as he guards his nesting territory.
Blue-tailed damselfly (Ischnura elegans)
It occurs above all in the surroundings of slowly flowing and standing waters, has a body length of about 30 mm and a wingspan of 40 mm. This is a beautiful species that adds to the local colour of all fishponds.
Vagrant darter (Sympetrum vulgatum)
This species will draw attention by its colourfulness. While the male is crimson red, the female is olive green. The species hibernates in the stage of an egg.
Water measurer (Hydrometra stagnorum)
This is a slender bug with shortened wings and long stilt-like legs. It lives mostly off the banks of ponds. It feeds on insects or water fleas, which it catches and sucks.
Great pond snail (Lymnea stagnalis)
This, perhaps best-known “water snail” in the ČR lives right under the water surface, clinging to i t with the slimy lower part of its body. It feeds on algae and rotting parts of plants.
Common carp (Cyprinus Carpio)
The most common and important fresh-water fish worldwide has been the pride of Czech fish farming for long years. The carp occurs in a large number of varieties differing in colour and anatomy.
You can find about four basic types of carps in Czech waters:
Scaly carp – its body is all covered with scales
Mirror carp – has patches of scales on its body, and the side scales are missing
Line carp – scales are concentrated only near its fins, behind its head, in the tail part, and especially in the side parts
Nude carp – scales are almost non-existent on the body, a few scales may occur below its back and fins The carp are omnivorous and their diet is very varied.
They accept animal food – earthworms, small worms, insects, freshwater shrimp, sometimes smaller fish, but they especially look for plant food. In this country, the carp is protected at the time of spawning.
The reward for the time spent in Telč will be meetings with history enchanted in the chateau and the fairy-tale Renaissance houses, but also winding forest paths with their smell of mushrooms, mysterious rocks, vast sun-lit fishponds and a number of other beautiful sceneries.